tv [untitled] January 17, 2013 2:30am-3:00am PST
responsible for partnering with school districts and departments of education across the country to help children and youth learn how to think critically, behave safely and participate responsibly in our digital world which we all have heard brings its own complications. she oversees the department's education staff, working in the 3 largest districts in the country, new york, denver, maine, texas, florida, and the bay area. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome rebecca randell. >> great, thank you, melinda. i'm going to ask you all to come up now. as they get seated i'll say a few words. all these panelists really bring a great wealth of experience and wisdom to what on the one hand is actually a
really complicated issue and on the other hand at its very core is somewhat simple. whether it's online or off-line, bullying and harassment or as the teens that we encounter at common sense media often say, drama, it's about power. as you heard the boy on the video say, i'm the big dog. who has it, who wants it and who wants to keep it. i realize this is an incredibly simple definition so i will leave it to our panel to pick it apart and to delve deeper. each of our panelists will have the opportunity to give a brief introduction of who they are and their organizations and after we've done the rounds i will pose a series of questions to eefrp of they will and then you will all have the opportunity to interact with them yourselves so we can have a really dynamic conversation. the one thing i will say before introducing our first panelists is we are going to try to keep all these introductions brief so i will give my friendly reminder to
the panel, i don't have a buzz button or anything, and i won't really cult you off, but i will try to keep it brief. without further ado, our first panelist is dr. becky cohen vargas who is director of not in our schools san francisco. >> i am actually director of not in our schools which is part of not in our town. here in the bay area we have one because sometimes we think these things don't happen here, but they do. transgender student killed, gwen arejo, we
. >> based on the idea that students can lead the way in creating a better school. >> people can do something right and you all have a chance to make a difference in a person's life. >> we're excited about the not in our school web site because it's a wonderful way for teachers and students to come together on issues of empowerment so they can learn from each other. >> if you say the word, that is so gay, is it necessary that you say something about it. >> it is a peer to peer story-sharing site. >> whenever you are able to take where someone is coming from and gives you a place to find common ground. >> (inaudible). >> young people can see stories and say what can we do, how do we treat each other? then they develop their own innovative way to create change in their school. music, plays,
art, mapping. >> 97 freshmen feel there's bullying in the cafeteria. >> i honestly didn't feel we have as much bullying as other students think so that was an opportunity to keep going. >> we are all different in our all different ways. >> you need everybody. >> as we filmed these stories around the country, we've seen the powerful conversations that have surfaced when they have the deeper understanding of what it means not to take action. >> we can trace racism and prejudice all the way back. we may not be able to make amends for what maybe our an ancestors did, but we can stop some of these things from happening in the future. >> we are becoming empowered. i will make a difference.
>> when a community sees its young people stand up to resist intolerance, to resist bullying, they can say why can't we take this to a larger level? they can lead and change an entire community. >> i can be the person that helps the world. >> thanks, becky, and thank you for keeping it short. rick phillips, executive director of community matters. >> on your tables we put a couple of slides. good morning. the challenge of 3 minutes to speak about programs that are best practices, i probably used up half my time just saying that. let me be clear as the next slide would come up, the problem of bullying is changing, morphing, mutating, younger, meaner, more pervasive as kids have more tools. i want to be clear that the approach that our nation has
taken to date is out of the ashes of columbine. we refer to it as an outside approach. what most schools did back then was try to secure a school from ingress, guns coming in and sro's and cameras can stop the guns but they can't stop the kids who bring in other weapons, weapons of bias, weapons of grudges from the neighborhood, values from home. we need to have a different approach. the approach we are talking about is a relational approach. it's an inside out approach, an approach really based on empowering young people not to be consumers but to be contributors in their own schools, not to be the problems but to be the solutions because clearly we've learned and know that we cannot legislate compassion and we cannot punish our children into being kind. we've tried. we've spent billions of dollars with policies that are punitive, not
restoretive, policies that punish but don't give young people the opportunity to correct and to fix the harm. so one of the lessons that our organization, community matters, has done for 12 years has been singularly focused on one mission and that is waking up the courage of our children to stand up and speak up when they see injustice, when they witness intolerance and incivility. and that is the best approach we have because it's a social norms change problem. it's a people problem, it's not a policy problem. waking up the courage of our children is what we've done through this program, if we can move the slides forward, called safe school ambassadors. basically what we do in my remaining 18 seconds is to go into our public schools and identify alpha social leaders of different cliques believing if we could identify first and enroll the leaders of different kinds of groups we can seed each group with a social change
agent, each one teaching one, each one reaching one by modeling the intervention behaviors we teach these young people and here's what we know after 12 years: a thousand public schools in 32 states, more than 500 schools here in california, hundreds here within the bay area, is that the kids who we train and equip to raise their voice then intervene with their friends because with their friends they feel safe. they've got emotional chips in the bank, they have history, and they can model each one teach one, each one reach one, we have trained over 40 kids in the first year, a couple hundred young people at each school and they intervene at a minimum of two times a week. when you have the leaders of different cliques beginning to raise their voices, raise their courage because they are always
bystanders, we are beginning to change social norms that makes it cool to be cruel and makes it more likely for kids to be cruel to be kind. that's the job we have to do more than anything else and it will take our courage and their courage to make that happen. the good news is we have done research studies and we have evidence, as we move the slides forward and you have it if you go to our web site, that it works. when you begin to create a social tipping point by educating young people to raise their voice and giving them a tool so they feel more competent to do it, they will naturally do it. it is their nature. as they do it, other kids, positive social peer influence, do it. we change the norms in our school. suspensions have decreased nationally in the thousand schools we've been in by more than 30 percent, discipline referrals go down because young people are defusing the escalating interrupting, preventing and stopping injustice. do we have the courage as a nation to stop focusing on the
problem and begin to really understand the best cost effective solution is to empower our young people? treat them not as empty bottles to be filled but candle sz to be lit. and i hope we can all use our collective voices today to spread a message of empowerment, justice and courage. courage. thank you . >> thanks, rick, i think we'll dig into that message of empowerment a little bit more deeply. next up is. >> our president was unable to be with us today but sends her greetings from washington, dc i hope you all have the handouts on the table that describe our organization. basically for the last 20
years, our organization has challenged stereotypes and misinformation about muslims and their faith, true education. we believe the bias and discrimination and hate that we see is generally commonly based on lack of information or misinformation and we believe that by providing accurate face to face information about any group that is the best way to combat bias and discrimination. so that's what we've been focusing on for the last 20 years. we go out to schools and other convenient tues and basically talk about what it means to be an american muslim. we have other related presentations that we do as well and a few years ago we also launched an interfaith speakers bureau where we take out representatives of the 5 major religions and do the same thing and we model in front of high school and middle school students how the faiths can sit down like we are sitting here today and have conversations about our commonalities but about our differences as well.
many of the comments we get from students is, wow, you guys can sit up there and talk because most of the pictures our students see are the ones that have been playing across our screens the last 2 or 3 days. we hope by challenging that we can prevent bullying and harassment we've been seeing here today. >> thank you, amina stacy is manager of communications for the los angeles giants. >> if you think about what our mission is, you probably think our mission is to win the world series every year, which hopefully this year we're on the right track, but actually our mission statement, we just went through an exercise but our mission statement has always been to enrich the community through innovation.
and it's very, i am very proud of the fact that the giants have been able to take that mission and bring it into the community through really dynamic partnership with the experts in the field. about 14 years ago, tommy short, my friend in the audience, came to us with sheriff hennesy and asked us to take on a controversial topic of violence and it was 14 years ago we hosted stamp out violence today. we brought together victims of violence, offenders, community leaders working on this issue to raise awareness about the impact of violence in our community. at that time the message was violence is learned and can be unlearned. the thing that the giants have and the reason why we're here today as part of this panel is we have this unique ability to create a platform with role model sz in our community to speak out about uncomfortable
and controversial but important issues in our community. strike out violence day was one of those issues, we've done it with until there's a cure day and last year we were very very proud to create a video with part of the it gets better campaign which i think we have a copy today that we'll roll quickly for you. our players, for better or worse, and i do say that, have a significant impact on young people in our community today and if we can steer them in a positive direction to send messages about antibullying and antiviolence, our players are more than willing to do so. i want to quickly show the it gets better video that showed last year, we were the first professional team to do so. it was filmed with the cooperation of all the partners throughout the bay area that provide the us with the expertise to talk about these important issues. >> we all know how difficult
life can be as a teenager. >> we've all been there (inaudible). >> we promise you, it does get better. >> please visit itgetsbetter.org for more information. >> thanks, stacy, and it can get better especially if we are all working together which is what today is all about. last but not least, michael
niland, program coordinator for the api wellness center. >> they model over 20 cultures, speak over 10 different languages, whether they are straight or gay, transgender, lesbian, we have them all. when we listen to their stories we see common themes, things like i can't come out it my dad because he'll beat me up. things like i can't tell my friends i'm gay, i'll lose them. i feel like i don't have anyone, i'm better off dead. these stories come up over and over again. it's not new news that safe spaces isn't enough any more. we can't just provide that safe space. we really have to take a look at where they are coming from and listening to their stories
and assessing what they want from us as service providers. in my experience the most flourishing circumstances where youth have become strong and become independent from situations where they have been bullied or they have been discriminated against are times when we have given them power, we have given them a voice, we've given them a chance to say, hey, this is what i want to do and this is how i'm going to strip away that pain and hurt and i'm going to transform it to a mural. i'm going to tell the liquor store to stop selling alcohol to youth. i'm going to present my views at a national convention and that's how i've seen youth that have been hurt and cried and cried themselves to sleep turn into powerful leaders. earlier rick mentioned choosing alpha youth as key points to influence their peers. what better way from getting -- getting a person or
youth who has been hurt, transforming them into an alpha leader and then having them mentor other youth who are in their situation. we have to listen to their stories and we have to give them power. >> mike, thank you. so, mike, i think as you mentioned and tom and ruslyn bullying is often fueled by bias, whether that's racial, ethnic, religious, or against the lgbq community. amina, you said bias is often fueled by misinformation. >> certainly in the muslim community that's very obvious. since 9-11 that's increased but even before 9-11 there were so many stereotypes out there, whether from hollywood, which portrayed muslim as terrorists,
as womanizers, to just a host of campaigns over the last few years from the ground zero mosque to the koran burning, local and national campaigns against building mosques, all of these are obviously going to impact children and their parents and if they are at home hearing their parents talk about muslims in a certain way, they are going to take that to school with them. i have experienced this in my own growing up, which was long before 9-11, just the lack of information or the misinformation i experienced again with my own children, particularly when there's an event that happens overseas they will come to school and kids will reflect that in comments about did your parents commit another terrorist act, was that your dad that did this. it's common for kids to be called bin laden, daughter of saddam. a lot of times
events overseas will have a huge impact on the kind of words children experience and unfortunately that bias is not limited just to students. there are cases where the teachers themselves have a lot of bias. there was an article published a couple years ago called suffer the little muslims where teachers, who are just human beings, any information from the media is going to be biased. we believe by providing an authentic voice that we believe can best be conveyed by people in that group, that is the best way to counter that bias and humanize that particular group, whether it's adults or children. >> thanks, amina mike or stacy, do you have anything to add to that? >> i think one area that can grow from this is within the family. we see youth that come from different countries and y
that are lgbq and because their families come from a culture different from america and because they have to pay homage to that culture yet they are in america, they are at a struggle. it's not surprising when they come home and they want to talk to their mom or they want to talk to their dad or talk to their siblings about something a happened at school or something that happened at a community organization they are involved in, they just can't because they feel that -- they can't. they are afraid to and even if they do, they either get disowned or get kicked out or get beat up, unfortunately sometimes. i feel that sometimes family can feed into biases because of those cultural differences and we as community service providers need to realize that and acknowledge that. families aren't always positive for our
youth. >> becky, in your experience what does it take to unseat that kind of bias? >> i think there are a few things. i wanted to back up a little tiny bit. when luslyn talked this morning she talked about our society not only tolerating but sometimes promoting it. one example is immigrants that has been widely out there in the last few years really increasing along with the kinds of things that amina talked about, very anti-immigrant messages coming out in the media. in new york, you probably remember this, some of you, in 2008 high school students were going out on a weekly basis beating up immigrants that they thought were supposedly undocumented immigrants. the students all knew about this but the adults didn't. it results in a hate crime, a murder. a couple things i wanted to
bring up. what does it take to unseat bias? first of all, we have to look at all the places that people are getting that violence, those attitudes, and have dialogue about it. just like amina said, we need to be getting to know each other. some researchers back in the 40's came up with 4 important things to address prejudice. the first is getting it know each other, talking about it, getting it out in the open. the second is equal status, we're not just feeling sorry for those poor little whatevers that are difrplt than us, but we are all equal. the third one is working together and i think about the giants, we're all for the team, not all together not as if we are color blind and color doesn't exist but with our diversity. the fourth is with power and authority, the person who stands up and says this is what
needs to happen, like a school principal who says we're not going to let kids go around the school saying that's okay, all these things are needed. >> i like that, that's great. something that really resonated with me that tom said, if you simply tolerate diversity you are aspiring to mediocrity. can you talk about the ambassadors, adults taking an active role to intervene when we witness bullying. >> all of us are humbled by the virus, how systemic it's become. how do you get your hands around that? for me it's top down and bottom up. we are authority figures and what we do for our children and that's care, but
we need to empower them to become the leaders they are waiting to become. this notion of youth adult partnership is esoteric in its term but on the ground how do you operationalize it, those things in the public school who are working so hard to meet the required mandates. schools are driven by mandates, academic achievement, achievement, enrollment. but the conditions in which the virus grows, if you follow the metaphor that bullying is a systemic virus, then the environment has to change so the virus cannot grow and the only way the environment changes is if youth and adults begin to speak with one voice about changing the social norms that allows it to happen. it makes sense to most of us, you have it khaifrpb the social norms. we must educate. but we must go beyond thinking more rigor will get us better achievement.
we have to remember a school is a community and in a xhuept, people look out for each other. they've got each other's back. how do we begin to promote that idea that we are in this thing together? we believe it's through, unfortunately but truly, self-interest. kids are driven developmentally by the desire to fit in, to belong, to be part of an affinity group. if we can capitalize on their desire to look out for their friends and give them some more tools and opportunities and support, they will begin to do what we need them to do to at least confront it in their own small cell of social influence and the compounding and leveraging of that begins to make change. so the question we have to ask ourselves, are we as adults willing it slow down enough to invite kids to sit down at the table with us and partner? do we have the courage to understand that inclusion takes time and we have have to work
more diligently to i invite young people, particularly marginalized young people, to take part. >> you mentioned changing social norms and i would imagine, stacy, part of that is powerful role models and so i think that that's a lot about the work that you are doing with the san francisco giants. so can you talk a bit about how you see the san francisco giants as being those role models and playing an active role and being upstanders? >> part of it is the role model stand point and using baseball as a hook to get people's attention. when we have a captive audience of 40,000 people plus a wide tell television and radio audience, we use that to get across the
message about an issue. sometimes we get letters, hey, i came to see a game with my son and instead i'm hearing about a murder committee in yosemite and that's a downer of a way to start the day. sometimes that's a tough conversation with a fan but at least at the end of the day they've taken something away with them. also at the grass roots level we have a junior giants program, it's a youth baseball program throughout california. we use baseball as the hook to get kids to come together to learn about teamwork, we have a whole can urriculum that's based on the importance of reading, literacy, education, we have a whole violence prevention can urriculum, we have 22,000 kids playing baseball throughout northern california, junior giants baseball, and we have a number of volunteer